The Ideal Palace stands in a small village in central France. The village of Hauterives stands south of Lyons. This structure was built single handedly by a postman who was popularly known as Postman Ferdinand Cheval. This palace is said to be one of the most astonishing and amazing visionary structures ever to be built in the world. The building of this structure began in the year 1879, and Ferdinand Cheval finished building it in 33 years.
Cheval had dreamt of having a wondrous palace, but he wasn’t really a builder. One day, when he was out, he came across a stone that was strangely shaped. There was something utterly provocative about the stone; and he just had to bring it home with him. Within a short period of time, his entire garden had begun having unusual rock gatherings; made up of rocks that he’d gathered along the 20 miles of his postal route. The stones were what made up for his basic building material. These stones he bound together along with wire and cement. He began building the structure when he was 43 years old.
In spite of the fact that he was highly ridiculed by the locals, he kept on toiling towards completing the dream creation that he’d begun working on. He began inventing different ways to build the structure while he progressed along the way. He lent shape to the building by carving and modeling the stones. He was known to toil the nights and day, and knew that most people thought he was mad. He needed almost 3500 bags of lime and cement to build a stone palace of this size.
His understanding of the outside world was what he used in order to create this outstanding structure. The surface decoration of the structure is known to combine aspects of a mosque, a Khmer temple, a feudal castle, a Swiss chalet, a Hindu sanctuary and a manger. It is said to consist of four facades and winding stairs that are known to lead up to the tower. There is a hallway containing vaults that is known to house 2 empty coffins made out of stone. There is a special shrine that is meant especially for the faithful wheelbarrow that helped him carry the stones meant for the building of the Ideal Palace.
In the year 1905, there was an article published about Le Matin, a newspaper. It made Postman Cheval a local celebrity, by talking about his work to the entire nation. Suddenly the Ideal Palace became a popular destination for tourists to visit.
Cheval wanted to use the Palace as his own tomb; but given the fact that local rules and regulations did not allow for this, he couldn’t. At the age of 80, he began working on his own tomb in the churchyard. He is said to have completed working on it within 2 years; and that is where he finally rests today.